OPINION: Waiguru defamation suit against Raila reason for bad blood


OPINION: Waiguru defamation suit against Raila reason for bad blood

By Calvin Tamanda

On Monday, National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, revived his long-standing beef with former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru over the NYS scandal.

When asked how he would have handled the scandal, Raila categorically stated that he would have “magufulied” Waiguru, translated to mean he would have jailed the former Devolution CS.

He further claimed that President Uhuru Kenyatta went easy on Waiguru, who is now the Jubilee candidate in the Kirinyaga governorship race, accusing him of deleting her name from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) list of corrupt individuals.

Notably, the NASA presidential candidate seemed to contradict himself when he said that the president rushed to present the list to parliament for debate even before investigations were complete leading to the resignation and public condemnation of some innocent individuals.

When speaking on corruption in Jubilee government, Raila mothballed all the other scandals including the Eurobond scandal, which he has labelled as the biggest scandal to ever face any government in Kenya, instead focussing on NYS.

Even while speaking about NYS scandal, he designedly clipped it on Ms Waiguru, ignoring his allies Junet Mohamed and John Mbadi who was named as some of the beneficiaries in the scandal, and Jubilee’s Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and friend-turned-foe Aden Duale among others.

From his remarks, it was clear that the reason for bad blood between Raila and Waiguru was not the NYS scandal, because investigations by the EACC and Directorate of Criminal Investigations had cleared Waiguru of any wrongdoing; it is the defamation case that Waiguru has against Raila Odinga.

In what has been seen as his shot at the presidency, Raila still has a case hanging over his head, which does not look good for him.

In the defamation case, Waiguru has accused Raila of portraying her as a “person of low morals who was involved in unethical and unprofessional conduct” saying his utterances had caused her to suffer immensely.

Should he win the presidential election, Raila will have to juggle between leading the country and clearing his name in the court, an almost similar situation with what Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto faced at the ICC – though on a smaller scale.

And so, over the past one year, Raila has tried so hard to have the case terminated, but to no success.

Ms Waiguru once claimed that Raila was using her cronies in the Public Accounts Committee to scare her into withdrawing the case against the NASA presidential candidate, though insisting that she would not budge.

The case filed in September 2015 is therefore an eerie shadow on Raila Odinga supposedly stellar political image and he wants it gone!

See, with the case in place, Raila cannot make public utterances against Waiguru, and this has in some ways constrained his public utterances on the NYS issue.

He has been instead limited to just general references, much to his disliking.

That is why when the moderators asked him about how he would deal with corruption, to him it was like he had been handed latitude – an opportunity to speak on the issue – knowing that he would have a basis to defend his utterances in court.

So complicated is the case that in January last year, Raila asked the court to invite President Uhuru Kenyatta to testify in the case, which would have been a first in Kenya’s history, had the court allowed it to happen.

In a state of desperation, Raila filed another petition in May this year, asking the court to call for fresh lifestyle audit on Waiguru. The court gave Raila two weeks to file submissions in support of his application stating that if he does not comply, his application will be thrown out.

It is not yet clear whether or not Raila filed the submission. The case still continues.

Behind the veils, therefore, Raila Odinga is hoping that Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, who is their close ally and defender, wins the Kirinyaga governorship race.

This is because it is believed that as Governor for Kirinyaga, Waiguru will marshal support from the larger Central Kenya region and put up a fierce fight against Raila, whether he will be the president or not.

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